Good leaders direct their teams to get a job done, but great leaders know when and how to acknowledge their efforts and keep the momentum going. Employee recognition is the key to solving most workplace problems and maximizing output at all times.
However, with hybrid work in the picture, it’s been tough for employers to track productivity and monitor employee performance. It’s been even tougher for them to diagnose the root of a problem—for example, why a high-performing employee suddenly stopped doing well or why an employee calls in sick often.
This article explores five possible reasons for this degradation in performance and how employee recognition fits in all these aspects.
1. They have limited skills, tools, or resources
In most of these cases, the employer is to blame. When they hire an employee, they often hand it over to a team member to train them in the shortest time span possible. They expect the new hire to quickly grasp the project’s working on a surface level and learn how to deal with a problem at hand.
In doing so, they forget how important it is to nurture new employees to prepare them for the role. They overlook all the knowledge and skill barriers and fail to address the employee’s frustration in the process.
As a result, employees feel they don’t have the necessary skills to do their job well and are not challenged enough to achieve bigger career milestones.
Solution: create a nurturing environment
Your employees (even those with high potential) will leave if this continues. Here’s how to prevent that from happening.
- Provide timely (and regular) training that helps them address difficult projects or tasks
- Don’t let a task stretch for longer than it has to be—cut down on manual work and invest in tools that will make their lives easier
- Offer regular feedback and assess them to help them grow
- Provide them with ample opportunities to advance their careers
2. They work in silos
Collaboration holds a remote team together, and the lack of it only delays the progress and impacts the work output. This is something most remote teams struggle with today, and instead, they end up working in silos—operating in their own bubble, working independently. While working alone is often seen as a rather productive approach, with projects that require team collaboration, it doesn’t work well.
When that happens, teams can’t timely communicate important updates about the project, deadlines are missed, and there’s always misunderstanding around task progress and status.
Solution: foster collaboration in teams
As the team leader, it’s your job to bring everyone together in this and encourage them to put in the team effort.
- Conduct meetings to seek updates from individuals and the team as a whole
- Create a culture of team-building where they come together and participate in activities as a team
- Recognize being a ‘team player’ as an achievement and reward a person for that
- Use collaboration tools that help you share data, update progress, and assign tasks
- within the team, besides facilitating internal communication
- Help solve conflicts between two or more team members to ensure there are no roadblocks to collaboration
3. They don't feel engaged or motivated
People who love their jobs don’t just love them for the work and salary. The company culture, co-workers, and other benefits matter too. The most important thing that keeps them going is when they feel motivated to come to work every day and feel happy about it. That is determined by how engaged they are in their workplace.
Employee engagement is a measure of an employee’s emotional and cognitive connection with their organization. Engagement improves when they get along with their co-workers, get to participate in events, are rewarded for their achievements, and feel themselves to be an important part of their organization.
On the other hand, disengaged employees come to work every day with resentment, thinking about leaving the place and finding better opportunities than about doing a good job. Unexpectedly, their productivity and performance go down.
Solution: employee recognition and a feedback system
It’s not easy to notice the signs of disengagement in remote teams. But when you see a spike of degradation in an employee's performance, you know something is up with them. In general, it’s a good practice to keep your workforce engaged and recognize them for their efforts every chance you get.
- Offer recognition and rewards for employees with monetary or emotional value to celebrate their wins;
- Help them carve out a career path and be their north star;
- Take surveys to measure their happiness and engagement levels and how you can do better;
- Conduct fun activities in the workplace to lighten the mood and help them relax;
- Get to know them better and chat with them once in a while to connect with them;
- Understand what their goals are with the company and their careers and how you can help them achieve those goals;
- Streamline your communication channels in a way that they feel easy and comfortable approaching you anytime.
4. They don’t know what’s expected of them
Often, employees feel agitated when they don’t know what their core responsibilities are and how significant their role is in the organization. They know they’re assigned a task and are supposed to finish it by a set deadline, but they don’t know where that task fits into the bigger goal with the customers. Without that information, they won’t be able to see their role beyond that assigned task and see themselves as a partner in their organization’s growth.
This is due to the need for more effective communication between the employer and employee, which often results in poor performance and loss of interest.
Solution: set goals in alignment with the organizations goals
Being an employer, it’s your responsibility to give a purpose to your employees and define goals and outcomes for them.
- Help them set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals, which align with the company’s goals
- Clarify what you expect of them—what is the bar for good performance, and what kind of amazing work have their superiors been doing
- Educate them about the client processes and how things go around with them—for example, how a new feature or a product is shipped
- Help them understand how to set priorities and meet deadlines while maintaining a good work-life balance
- Map out the entire approval process for them and how work flows in your team or the organization in general
- Paint them a clear picture of their future with the company—what to expect upon completing one successful year and how to ascend to the next step
Employee recognition: the key to a happy place
If you noticed one common ground between everything we’ve discussed above, you’d see—a little recognition and positivity go a long way. No matter what an employee is dealing with in their lives, if they’re appreciated in their workplace and rewarded for their efforts, they’ll definitely see a silver lining after all.
So, work on creating a positive work culture and making your workplace a happier place to be in. But, you must know to identify a non-performing employee and someone who has just been in a slump lately. While the former might just be bad at their job, the latter definitely deserves a second chance and a nurturing environment to grow in.